Sunday, November 12, 2006

NFL Week 10 Preview

The second half of the season gets underway today, and that means one thing: no more byes! Every team will be in action every week, so that means 16 chances for wild, wacky and wonderful plays. Unless we're talking about the Bucs. Then the plays will just be woeful. Is it just my imagination or is every team either 6-2 or 2-6 except Indy, Chicago & Arizona? Ah parity my friends. Strange what a close relative it is to mediocrity.
Let's break down the action for Week 10.

NY Jets (4-4) @ The Pats (6-2)
New England came crashing back to earth thanks to the Mannings' sound thrashing of them last Sunday Night in their own stadium, so they have just the cure for what ails them this week- the J-E-T-S. Led by former assistant coach Eric Mangini, whom the Hooded One would not even refer to by name this week, the Pats look to get back on the winning track against their favorite punching bag. The Pats will be without S Rodney Harrison, who broke his shoulder blade in the loss last week, so the D is once again banged up. Shouldn't matter. The Jets suck, the Pats are hungry for a win, and we know Brady never has 2 bad games in a row.
MY PICK: Pats 34, Jets 16

Washington(3-5) @ Philly(4-4)
A good old-fashioned hate fest here with these 2 bitter NFC East rivals clashing with the loser's season finished and the winner still harboring playoff dreams. The "Skins squeaked by Dallas last week thanks to a penalty that led to a last-second winning FG, while Philly has been reeling, losers of 3 straight including 13-6 two weeks ago at home to Jacksonville, one of the msot embarrassing non-Bucs losses in the McNabb era. It looks like Washington used up their allotment of good fortune last week, and the Eagles can't be as bad as they were in that Jaguar game, can they?
MY PICK: Eagles 28, Skins 21

Cleveland(2-6) @ Atlanta(5-3)
Hmmm, this is a toughie. The Browns suck, although they have played better recently(1 win & 2 close losses in the last 3 weeks.) Meanwhile the Falcons were humiliated by the Lions last week, 30-14, and the new passing Mike Vick was terrible(17-32, 163, 1TD, 2INTs.) So logic would say that the Browns should get waxed by a Falcon team chomping at the bit to prove that loss was a fluke. Look for Atlanta to get back to their bread & butter-running the football- against a team that is 29th in the league against the run. Warrick Dunn should have a big day, and Vick will sprinkle a couple of touchdown passes in there for good measure as well.
MY PICK:Falcons 34, Browns 23

Kansas City(5-3) @ Miami(2-6)
The Chiefs are surging thanks to the improved play of QB Damon Huard(11TDs, 1INT) and RB Larry Johnson(130+ yards, 6 TDs in the past 3 games.) The Dolphins are playing better, as evidenced by their surprising defeat of previously undefeated Chicago last week, but they still are the Dolphins. But the heat of South Florida might be too much for the cold-weather Chiefs to bear, and Miami has also been running the ball well (Ronnie Brown had 157 yards against that vaunted Bear D.) I smell an upset here, especially if DE Jason Taylor treats Huard like he treated Rex Gross-man last week( 1sack, 1FF, 1TD.)
MY PICK: Fins 23, Chiefs 20

Green Bay(3-5) @ Minny(4-4)
Two teams heading in opposite directions here. Three weeks ago the Vikes were the darlings of the NFL, surprising everyone with their balanced play and gritty will-to-win. Then came the
31-7 debacle vs. the Pats on MNF, followed by a devastating 9-3 loss to the 49ers last week. RB Chester Taylor is the key to any Vikes victory- if he runs well, they usually win: when he runs for over 100 yards, they are 3-0; under 100 they are 1-4. So as Chester goes, so go the Vikes. And guess what? The Packers are allowing nearly 100 on the ground (98YPG.) So if Chester can crack the century mark, the Vikes will win. Plus we all know how bad Favre does indoors.
MY PICK: Vikes 17, Pack 14

San Fran(3-5) @ Detroit(2-6)
Battle for the No.1 draft pick here, although the Niners have played better than I think anyone could have anticipated. QB Alex Smith (remember him, the #1 pick 2 years ago?) has progressed well, and RB Frank Gore has proven to be another solid runner from 'Da U'. But Detroit is coming off that season-making victory over Atlanta and are riding high under Coach Marinelli right now, and with the Niners having won last week it looks unlikely that they would go on the road and win again, especially in a dome. Gotta stick with Marinelli's boys.
MY PICK: Lions 24, Niners 15

Buffalo(3-5) @ Indy(8-0)
Hmmm, this is a toughie. The best team in the NFL, coming off consecutive wins against the best of the rest in the AFC (Denver & New England) at home vs. a downtrodden Buffalo squad that will be without its best offensive weapon, RB Willis Magahee(broken ribs.) Not gonna waste a lot of space on this one- Colts should roll, and if they don't, all the better.
MY PICK:Colts 37, Bills 11

Baltimore(6-2) @ Tennessee(2-6)
The ravens are riding high on the strength of their new starting QB, Steve McNair, and their always stout defense, led by LB Ray Lewis & S Ed Reed. The Titans are just playing out the string, trying to get rookie QB Vince I wish I was back at Texas Young some experience and playing for a potential high draft pick to get him a weapon on offense to throw to. All signs point to a Raven victory, unless Young gets inspired and starts playing like he's in the National Championship game again. Doubtful against this D.
MY PICK: Ravens 19, Titans 10

Houston(2-6) @ Jax'ville(5-3)
The Texans have shown some signs of life, and WR Andre Johnson does lead the league in receiving yards(752.) But J'Ville is back to their winning ways with 2 straight victories over Philly & Tennessee. QB David Garrard, who replaced Byron Leftwich when Leftwich went down with an injury 3 weeks ago, will remain at quarterback because he brings toughness, mobility, and strength to a position that the Jags need to to be the foundation of their playoff run. Garrard has led the team to the 2 wins and the players have rallied around him. They could start David Blaine at the position today and beat the Texans, though.
MY PICK: Jags 29, Texans 13

San Diego(6-2) @ Cincy(4-4)
The Chargers come into this Queen City contest on a roll, having won 4 of their last 5 games while racking up over 32 points in 3 of those wins. Meanwhile the Bengals have turned back into the Bungles, underachieving their way to a .500 record amid off-field arrests, suspensions and in-fighting. Way to go for the team that nearly every pundit had pegged for the Bowl this year. This is Cincy's chance to make a statement-knock off one of the league's hottest teams and they will declare to the rest of the NFL that they will be a force in the 2nd half. Lose and it will be a second half of woulda, coulda and shoulda beens, with plenty of pouting, excuses, and probably more arrests. Cincy needs this one BAD.
MY PICK: Bengals 28, Chargers 24

Denver(6-2) @ Oakland(2-6)
The Raiders are an absolute mess; their Monday Night disaster was a painful thing to watch, as their helpless QB, Andrew Walter, was sacked 9 times, 7 in the first half, and they were shut out for the 2nd time on MNF this season. To call their offensive line a sieve would be an insult to sieves everywhere. To make matters worse they were involved in one of the ugliest incidents in the league this year- Tyler Brayton's nut crushing of Seahawks TE Jerramy Stevens. The Broncos have to be licking their chops at playing this bunch of losers, although the Raiders have given former coach Mike Shanahan fits at times the Broncos boss is 18-5 against his former employers, including 3 in a row.
MY PICK: Broncos 24, Raiders 3

Dallas(4-4) @ Arizona(1-7)
Just what the doctor ordered for Dallas-a trip to the desert to take on the sinking Cards. After winning their opener the Cardinals have lost 7 straight and have turned to rookie QB Matt Leinart to guide the team into the future. Although he hasn't played terribly, the entire organization is a mess & a major disappointment after everyone had them being playoff contenders coming into the season. The Boys could be called disappointments as well, and it's no coincidence that their decline has coincided with the arrival of the Ultimate Clubhouse Cancer himself, T.O.D. The drop ball king has torn this team apart, and now it's up to backup QB Tony Romo to put it back together. The desert is normally a good place to start, but if the Cards should get lucky & take this game, things are going to get REAL fun in Bi D.
MY PICK: Cowboys 21, Cards 20

St. Louis(4-4) @ Seattle(5-3)
The Hawks are coming off that confidence boosting 16-0 win over the Raiders Monday night, but really how much confidence can you get from beating that squad? With QB Matt Hasselbeck & RB Shaun Alexander still out with injuries it will be up to backups Seneca Wallace & Maurice Morris to carry the load again. This is a battle for the division lead, but St. Louis has been going backwards lately, losing 3 in a row after winning 4 of their first 5 games. QB Marc Bulger is having another solid season (NFC-leading 2300 yards, 13 TDs) but their running game needs to step up as Steven Jackson has only scored 4 TDs all season. Should be a good battle in the Pacific Northwest, and I hear Jerramy Stevens is wearing a specially designed metal cup.
MY PICK: Rams 26, Hawks 23

New Orleans (6-2) @ Pittsburgh (2-6)
It's all over but the crying for the Steelers, who will not repeat as Super Bowl champs (I know I'm going out on a limb there.) But they can play for pride and respect, and they still have a lot to prove. Like the fact that they are not the worst defending champs ever, Coach Cowher has not lost his clubhouse, and some players still care about things like pride & performance. Cowher shook things up a little by benching CB Ike Taylor, and A-Ben-dicitis has to be eager to prove that his horrible 14 INT, 7TD season can be turned around. The Saints are the talk of the league, but going on the road and winning at the Ketsup Bottle will be a huge task for a growing team, even against the floundering Steelers. Pittsburgh pride should be on display today, and that should be enough to knock off the upstart Saints. If not the Steelers might as well pack it in for the rest of this embarrassing season.
MY PICK: Steelers 26, Saints 20

Chicago (7-1) @ NY Giants(6-2) Sunday Night Football NBC
Shhhh, you hear that sound? That's everyone jumping off the Bears bandwagon after last week's humbling 31-13 loss to the Dolphins. Rex Gross-man was horrendous in that one-18- 42, 210 yards, 3 picks- and the vaunted defense allowed the most points they had allowed all season to a 1-6 team. The Giants meanwhile are riding high after 5 straight wins and with a victory tonight will tie Chicago for the best record in the NFC. It should be a great matchup in the wind tunnel known as the Meadowlands, and god forbid if the Bears lose everyone will be having them in the draft lottery by tomorrow morning. Don't forget that injuries could play a big factor in this one: Beard LB Brian Urlacher is nursing a toe sprain and should play but he will be gimpy, and the Giants have been decimated with injuries to WR Amani Toomer(ACL), DE Michael Strahan(foot sprain), DE Osi Umeniyora and LB Lavar Arrington. Talk about a war of attrition.
MY PICK: Bears 21, Giants 17

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